THE cutting of a string of beach balls marked the official opening of Hoburne Bashley’s new swimming pool.
And with young children taking on the roles of important dignitaries, there was only one VIP suitable for the launch.
CBeebies presenter Alex Winters – who has been hosting shows at branches of the resort around the country – wielded a giant pair of scissors as he did the honours, and revealed that although this was his first visit to the New Forest, it would not be his last.
“I’ve not been here before. In fact, I’ve not been to this neck of the woods, so it’s totally new to me,” said the popular presenter. No one warned me about wild horses in the road. I’m a city boy from Cardiff – born and brought up in Cardiff – so I’m not used to wild deer and horses in the middle of my roads.”
He said he was “very excited” to be in Hampshire after travelling from his home in Manchester, where he lives with his wife and three young children. I’m back here in July so I’m definitely bringing family along,” he said.
“I was speaking to them last night and the first thing my children said was ‘Is there a swimming pool?’, so I said ‘Yes, and I’m officially opening it tomorrow’ so to be honest that’s what we’ll do – spend the whole time in the pool. My children just want to stay all day in the pool.”
Although Alex began his career in acting, he made the decision to quit after his first child was born because he “just wasn’t earning enough money”.
He then worked as a picture framer for four years before applying for a presenting job with the BBC.
“I’ve genuinely always wanted to do children’s television,” he said.
“But I’ll be honest, [when the audition came up] I just thought there was no point because so many people are going to go for it and it’s CBeebies, it’s huge. I thought, ‘I’m not going to stand a chance’. But my wife said, ‘You’re daft to not just try’.”
Hoburne’s chairman Rosie Kennar said: “It’s a fantastic day, and it’s wonderful to have Alex here.
“The kids adore him – he’s competing with [Hoburne mascot] Sammy Seahorse for affection.”
John Cossins, of Christchurch, attended the event with 16-month-old daughter Francesca. He said: “The pool looks really great – we’re all really pleased with it. We’re looking forward to having a swim now.”